Monday was the last day in Pennsylvania to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election in which the presidential battleground state is playing a central role in the contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Voter registration in the state hit a record high in this cycle.

State elections officials said Monday that voter rolls in Pennsylvania passed 9 million.

The Squirrel Hill Café is one of those taverns that seems like it’s always been there. And in a way, it has: The one-time fruit and candy store near the corner of Forbes and Murray avenues became a restaurant and lounge in 1934, just after Prohibition ended.

Lewis Joly / AP

While the world waits for a safe and effective inoculation, this year’s flu shot can serve as a sort of dress rehearsal for when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available. That’s because everyone, from the very young to the very old, should get vaccinated in a relatively short amount of time.

High Court Allows 3-Day Extension For Pennsylvania Ballots

Oct 19, 2020
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Supreme Court will allow Pennsylvania to count ballots received up to three days after the election, rejecting a Republican plea.

Tim Tai / Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania’s top election official is confident that “the overwhelming majority” of the state’s votes will be counted soon after Nov. 3, even as a record number of residents register to vote and apply to cast ballots by mail.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Allegheny County solicitor Andy Szefi answers questions about voting ahead of the general election; and this year, voters might not know election results on election night.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Voters in the city of Pittsburgh have a referendum on the ballot this fall. It’s an effort to strengthen the city’s police review board. But there is a chance that even if it passes, the issue may not be settled on Election Night.

Carrie Antlfinger / AP

An appellate court judge in Pennsylvania has turned down an emergency petition from Republicans seeking to block the Philadelphia suburb of Delaware County from operating a three-day early voting center in the city of Chester. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Universities across the city have adjusted programs that were typically interactive to maintain social distancing guidelines during the pandemic.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Attorneys and volunteer tenant advocates are visiting dozens of district courts in Allegheny County to make sure renters are aware of their rights and what assistance is available to them – and their landlords – to keep them housed during the pandemic.


Pennsylvania is reporting 1,857 new COVID-19 cases, the second-highest daily total since the beginning of pandemic, days after officials said the commonwealth was seeing a “fall resurgence" of the coronavirus.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Supporters of President Donald Trump caravanned through the city of Pittsburgh midday on Saturday. 

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Most of the more than two dozen charges against activist Lorenzo Rulli, stemming from six racial justice protests in Pittsburgh this year, will proceed to trial. Rulli appeared in Pittsburgh Municipal Court Friday.

Report: Radiation Levels Higher Downwind Of Fracking Sites

Oct 16, 2020
Ralph Wilson / AP

A team of Harvard researchers found elevated levels of radioactivity on air particles measured downwind of fracking sites around the country.

Pennsylvania Sees Another Big Monthly Drop In Jobless Rate

Oct 16, 2020
Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate began to look like the rest of the nation's in September, taking another steep drop from its post-pandemic high as the labor force and payrolls grew, according to state figures released Friday.

Deadline Looms To Defuse Pennsylvania's Budget Time Bomb

Oct 16, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Months after passing a partial budget that avoided some hard decisions, Pennsylvania's Legislature and governor face a deadline at the end of November to finish the job and plug a multibillion-dollar deficit.

Screenshot (left) Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA (right)

Suburban Pennsylvania voters may reshape the national political landscape this year, and that’s especially true in places like the 17th Congressional District outside of Pittsburgh, where Democrat Conor Lamb is being challenged by Republican Sean Parnell. 


Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Prospects remain unclear for an Allegheny County Council bill that would mandate paid sick leave throughout the county. A committee met to discuss the bill Thursday, but six months after the legislation was introduced, there are no signs it will receive a vote anytime soon. 

Courtesy of FestivalAFRICANA

In 2001, Demeatria Boccella founded FashionAFRICANA, a Pittsburgh-based series of events to celebrate Black beauty and design.

Delphi COVIDcast / Carnegie Mellon University

New data from Carnegie Mellon University allows users to see the percentage of people who wear masks in their county. COVIDcast, which already localized collected data about coronavirus activity, began asking survey respondents about face coverings and test access last month. 

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

WESA’s Lucy Perkins outlines what happened that caused nearly 29,000 misprinted ballots to go out to Allegheny County residents. County elections officials are blaming the error on a third-party vendor.

Everything PA Poll Watchers Can And Can't Do On Election Day, Explained

Oct 15, 2020
Jessica Griffin / Philadelphia Inquirer

State Democrats and Republicans are training a small army of partisan poll watchers to be their eyes and ears at voting sites across the state, a typical and legal process that allows both parties to monitor activities on Election Day and flag potential problems.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: A nationwide project tackles voter confusion in the lead up to the general election; a research project is developing new guidelines to help break the cycle of opioid prescriptions in dental settings; and Pittsburgh musician Ernie Hawkins remembers blues legend Reverend Gary Davis. 

Talks On Critical Election Legislation In Pennsylvania Stall

Oct 15, 2020
Matt Slocum / AP

Closed-door talks on legislation seen as crucial to producing a prompt election result in the presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania appeared stuck Thursday between the Democratic governor and the Legislature's House Republican majority.

Steven M. Falk / Philadelphia Inquirer

Winding through green forested hills, the road to Meadowbrook Mobile Home Park in York County is nestled with brown-paneled trailers and potholes half-filled with jagged concrete.

DEP Issues New Fines For Westmoreland County Landfill That Accepts Drilling Waste

Oct 15, 2020
Reid F. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined a Western Pennsylvania landfill that accepts solid fracking waste $59,000 for multiple violations over the past year. 

Ariel Worthy / WESA

The city of Pittsburgh announced plans to invest new funds in its Black communities through an initiative called “Avenues of Hope.” The plan is to directly invest in small businesses and residents of seven historically Black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Though cases of the coronavirus are increasing in Allegheny County, it’s far less severe here compared to what’s occurring at the state and national level.

A Pittsburgh teacher faced a racial slur and threats in a city park this week.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Elections Division announced Wednesday that the company in charge of printing and mailing ballots sent the wrong ballots to 28,879 voters, citing an error by the vendor in charge of printing and mailing the ballots.